There's something about buying things in second-hand and charity shops. Particularly when you're rummaging around for old kitchen things: plates, bowls, casserole pots, teapots. New stuff never has quite the same pleasure for me; things need to have a history.

Doesn't even matter whether the plates and the cups and the bowls match or not, or if they're plain or patterned, round or square. I'm not even fussy about a tiny chip here and there. Finally, this plate, this engraved spoon, this sturdy little crock pot has found me and my home and is going to become part of my history, see my life played out between winter days when only hot soup will do, shared dinners with friends, and thoughtful times alone over a cup of tea.

Things are not always what they seem. This is a glass-fronted office building in Glasgow reflecting back the beautiful architecture on the other side of the street. There's a For Sale sign in the top middle window, too: a little surprise of visual delight. 

Imagine living in that flat at the top of that building. Imagine the views you'd get across Glasgow and of the changing skies in the far distance as you watch the cloudscapes, curtains of rain, rainbows, the glimmerings of first and last light.
Pheasant feather

One of the most colourful birds in the UK. Introduced by the Romans and now found across most of the UK.

According to the League Against Cruel Sports, their poll conducted via YouGov showed "61% felt that shooting live targets for sport was unacceptable, and only 7% thought it a healthy thing to teach children."


Rook (Corvus frugilegus)

A highly intelligent and resourceful bird.

Rooks are resident throughout almost the entire United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. They're mostly partial to insects, grains and worms;
the RSPB suggests that there are between 1,130,000 - 1,440,000 breeding pairs. They're also heavy enough to tip the bird feeder seven ways of crazy.


My father's things:

his tin of service medals
his army pictures
his watch
his scientific slide rule
his father's golf medal

his engraved pewter tankard 

his complicity
his excess of fear
his spectacles
his refusal to see

his notes from his last business meeting
his kindness to others
his faint heart
his handwriting
his forgivable humanity
his sadness
his echo



a dessertspoon of dried yeast
a teaspoon of honey
half a pint of warm water

one pound of flour
a pinch of salt
and a dessertspoon of olive oil

dissolve the sugar in the warm water
add the yeast and stir
leave to rise for fifteen minutes
whisk the liquid yeast
pour the oil into the flour
add the yeast
and mix with a fork
knead the dough for ten minutes

place the dough in a bowl and cover with a teacloth
leave to rise for an hour
knead the risen dough for five minutes
lightly oil the inside of a one pound loaf tin
place the dough inside the tin and cover with a teacloth

leave to rise for twenty minutes

set the oven temperature at two hundred degrees centigrade

place the tin on the middle shelf
bake for thirty minutes

turn the bread out onto a wire rack
leave to cool